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into the territories, and had asserted the right and the duty of Congress to exclude it by positive legislation therefrom.

The Chicago Convention, which nominated Mr. LINCOLN, adopted a platform of which this was the cardinal feature; but it also took good care to repel the imputation of its political opponents, and to remove the apprehensions of the South, that the party proposed to interfere with slavery in the States whose laws gave it support and protection. It expressly disavowed all authority and all wish for such interference, and declared its purpose to protect the Southern States in the free enjoyment of all their constitutional rights. The Democratic Convention, originally assembled at Charleston, was disposed to make Mr. DOUGLAS its candidate in opposition to Mr. LINCOLN; but this purpose was thwarted by leading politicians of the slaveholding States, who procured the nomination of Mr. BRECKINRIDGE, with full knowledge of the fact that this would divide the Democratic party, and in all probability secure the election of Mr. LINCOLN. Mr. BRECKINRIDGE represented the pro-slavery element of the Democratic party, and asserted the duty of the national government, by a positive exercise of its legislative and executive power, to protect slavery in the territories, against any legislation either of Congress or of the people of the territories themselves, which should seek to impair in any degree the right, alleged to be recognized in the Constitution, of property in slaves. Mr. DOUGLAS Supported the theory that the people of the territories, acting through their territorial legislature, had the same right to decide this question for themselves as they had to decide any other; and he represented this principle in opposition to Mr. LINCOLN on the one hand, and Mr. BRECKINRIDGE on the other, in the Presidential canvass. JOHN BELL, of Tennessee, was also made a candidate by the action mainly of men who were dissatisfied with all the existing political parties, and who were alarmed at the probable results of a


resistance; and it soon became evident that this purpose had been long cherished, and that members of the government under the Presidency of Mr. BUCHANAN had officially given it their sanction and aid. On the 29th of October GENERAL SCOTT sent to the President and JOHN B. FLOYD, his Secretary of War, a letter expressing apprehensions lest the Southern people should seize some of the Federal forts in the Southern States, and advising that they should be immediately garrisoned by way of precaution. The Secretary of War, according to statements subsequently made by one of his eulogists in Virginia, "thwarted, objected, resisted, and forbade" the adoption of those measures, which, according to the same authority, if carried into execution, would have defeated the conspiracy, and rendered impossible the formation of a Southern Confederacy. An official report from the ordnance department, dated January 16, 1861, also shows that during the year 1860, and previous to the Presidential election, 115,000 muskets had been removed from Northern armories and sent to Southern arsenals by a single order of the Secretary of War, issued on the 30th of December, 1859. On the 20th of November the Attorney-General, Hon. JOHN S. BLACK, in reply to inquiries of the President, gave him the official opinion that Congress had no right to carry on war against any State, either to prevent a threatened violation of the Constitution or to enforce an acknowledgment that the Government of the United States is supreme: and it soon became evident that the President adopted this theory as the basis and guide of his Executive action.

South Carolina took the lead in the secession movement. Her legislature assembled on the 4th of November, 1860, and, after casting the electoral vote of the State for JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE to be President of the United States, passed an act the next day calling a State Convention to meet at Columbia on the 17th of December. On the 10th, F. W. Pickens was


for many years in the public service, declared that "the secession of South Carolina was not the event of a day. It is not," said he, "any thing produced by Mr. Lincoln's election, or by the non-execution of the Fugitive Slave Law. It is a matter which has been gathering head for thirty years. The election of Lincoln and Hamlin was the last straw on the back of the camel. But it was not the only one. The back was nearly broken before." So far as South Carolina was concerned there can be no doubt that her action was decided by men who had been plotting disunion for thirty years, not on account of any wrongs her people had sustained at the hands of the Federal Government, but from motives of personal and sectional ambition, and for the purpose of establishing a government which should be permanently and completely in the interest of slavery.

But the disclosures which have since been made, imperfect comparatively as they are, prove clearly that the whole secession movement was in the hands of a few conspirators, who had their head-quarters at the national Capital, and were themselves closely connected with the Government of the United States. A secret meeting of these men was held at Washington on the night of the 5th of January, 1861, at which the Senators from Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida were present. They decided, by resolutions, that each of the Southern States should secede from the Union as soon as possible; that a Convention of seceding States should be held at Montgomery, Alabama, not later than the 15th of February; and that the Senators and Members of Congress from the Southern States ought to remain in their seats as long as possible, in order to defeat measures that might be proposed at Washington hostile to the secession movement. Davis of Mississippi, Slidell of Louisiana, and Mallory of Florida, were appointed a committee to carthese decisions into effect; and, in pursuance of them, Missis


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